CHINA, QING YUAN TONG BAO, iron, 2 cash, year 4 (1198 AD)


CHINA, SOUTHERN SONG Dynasty, 1127-1280 AD, 2 cash, year 4 (1198 AD), Hanyang mint, Hubei, Obverse: QING YUAN TONG BAO, orthodox script, read clockwise, Reverse: HAN SI (#4) top-bottom, iron, 27.5mm, 6.17g, H17.433, S819, VF/F

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Qing Yuan was the first year title of Emperor Song Ningzong.

Song Ningzong was a sit around and talk about culture kind of guy. The Jurchens took advantage of the situation to pick off choice pieces of Song territory. The Jurchen then found themselves pressed from the north by the Mongols, and compensated by attacking Song some more. Then he got sick and died.

Pressure from Turks, Tungus, and other peoples to the North grew until the Song felt obliged to retreat to the south. The Song paid tribute to the northern invaders, and continued their traditions in reduced circumstances until the coming of the Mongols.

The oldest Chinese coins are at least as old as the earliest Greek coins. The Chinese coinage system differed from other systems in two ways. It was monometallic, only bronze coins circulated in general commerce. Gold and silver were treated as commodities. And the manufacturing method was by casting in moulds rather than by striking heated solid planchets. The main reference I use in attributing and describing these coins is the book: Chinese Cast Coins, by David Hartill.